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Kansai International Airport

November 9, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Kansai International Aiport (KIX) is the second most important airport in Japan (after Narita in Tokyo) and the main airline hub for the Kansai area, which includes Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Wakayama, and many other large cities. KIX is located on an artificial island in Osaka Bay, near Sennan and Izumisano Cities in southern Osaka Prefecture. It is connected to the land by a 3 km (2 mile) bridge that carries rail and road traffic, and also by ferry services.

The island built for this airport turned Osaka Prefecture, formerly the smallest prefecture in Japan in terms of land area, into the second smallest in Japan, putting Kagawa Prefecture in last. There have been problems with the island sinking slowly each year, but they have been mitigated for the most part, naturally and due to technological innovations. Fear of strong crosswinds affecting rail traffic has also been assuaged through installation of protective barriers. KIX survived severe typhoon winds and the 1995 Great Awaji-Hanshin Earthquake without significant damage.

The airport was designed by world-famous Italian architect Renzo Piano, and the terminal is the longest in the world at 1.7 km in length (it is served by a tram/train). There are two runways, and a third is planned as part of a future expansion. KIX has a good variety of restaurants and facilities, and just across the bridge is Rinku Town, one of the most extensive and entertaining shopping areas in all of Osaka Prefecture. You can also stay in the ANA Gate Tower Hotel at Rinku Town, located in the Rinku Gate Tower Building, the second tallest building in Japan after Yokohama’s Landmark Tower (Rinku Gate Tower is the same height as Osaka City’s WTC Cosmo Tower).

KIX is about 35-45 min. by limited express train (JR or Nankai Railways) from central Osaka City, and JR trains continue through Osaka all the way to Kyoto. Check out KIX’s website here. When you visit Osaka next, come through Kansai International Airport and learn why it is considered on of the best airports in the world.

Here is another good post on KIX that focuses more on the interesting architecture design of the airport and contains a number of terminal-building photographs.

  1. November 10, 2009 at 4:03 am

    Reading your post really hits me where it hurts, especially after learning that my friend will be able to go there this Thursday. Since my plans to go there was postponed, ouch, I will have to content myself reading your posts for now. Then maybe I will have time to plan my itinerary from the things I will learn from your posts.

    Oh, btw, I thought you’re coming to Cebu. Were you able to go?

    • osakainsider
      November 10, 2009 at 12:18 pm

      Sorry your plans were postponed😦 But Osaka will still be here later. Hope you friend has fun!
      Yep, I stayed on Mactan Island but also spent a little time on Cebu. It was a lot of fun, but my stomach has been feeling kind of bad ever since I got back😛 I also road in a Jeepney, which was cool.

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